Some popular television may have a negative effect on children’s brain function. New studies are examining whether fast-paced, fantastical television has short- and long-term effects.
One study divided sixty 4-year-old children into three groups. One group was shown a nine-minute segment of Spongebob Squarepants; the second group was shown a nine-minute segment of a slower-paced cartoon; children in the last group did not watch any show, but were given paper, crayons, and markers, and drew pictures for nine minutes.
After the nine minute activity, “each child was administered a set of standard exercises designed to test such aspects of executive function as working memory, attention and self-regulation.” The first group performed much worse on such tasks than did either the slower-paced TV show viewers or the kids who colored. This study suggests that viewing frenetic animated television might impair a 4-year-old’s executive functions, such as memory and attention.
If your child is still in the developmental stage of life, I recommend you encourage activity that helps promote healthy brain function, such as puzzles, sports and playing outside. Stay away from anything that harms brain function, such as fast-paced TV shows and video games, and make sure your child receives all the vital nutrients needed to ensure healthy growth.